We’re not cleaning our wearable devices, and we really should

Wearable devices - Person adjusting Smartwatch

Scientists have shown that these gadgets are dirtier than smartphones, which are dirtier than toilet seats.

Many of us were horrified when we first heard the results of research showing that smartphones are typically about ten times dirtier than a toilet seat, but now newer research is showing that wearable devices are even worse.

According to a recently published paper, these gadgets are swimming with disease, putting us at risk.

According to a paper published in the Nature journal, mobile gadgets ranging from smartphones to smartwatches contain so much potential communicable disease that it recommended public health and biosecurity protocols to help control the risk.

Wearable devices - Bacteria, smartphone

That said, it is wearable devices that have really taken the cake when it comes to being covered in bacterial contamination that can pose a health risk. This includes mainly smartwatch and fitness tracker bands. Charles E. Schmidt College of Science researchers from Florida Atlantic University examined a number of types of straps for wearables, finding that almost 95 percent of them were contaminated with a number of bacteria forms.

There are many different types of straps for wearable devices, and some were worse than others.

Among the materials, it was the rubber- and plastic-based straps that carried the highest contamination levels. On the other hand, those with the lowest bacterial activity were made from metal such as gold and silver.

This research was published in a paper in the journal Advances in Infectious Diseases. In it, the authors pointed out that the occupation of the wearer and even their gender can play a role in the amount and types of bacteria on the straps.

The researchers sampled bands made out of plastic, rubber, leather, metal, and various fabrics. They were worn by people in jobs ranging from desk jobs to firefighting, veterinarians and drivers. The job of the owners of the wearable devices certainly played a role in the type of bacteria found on the straps.

The companies selling the wearable devices typically recommend against using an antibacterial product on the straps as it offers only a short-term solution while training the pathogens to become resistant. Instead, it was found that Lysol Disinfectant Spray or 70 percent Ethanol provided the fastest reduction in bacteria count, requiring only 30 seconds to be effective. Apple cider vinegar worked as an alternative, but required 2 minutes to work the same way.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.